Landscaping your backyard can be as simple as building a path, preparing several garden beds and perhaps placing a bench in a shady area. When you know the basics of landscape design, you can get fancy with arbors, a gazebo, a potting shed, trellises for climbing roses or grape vines, and much more. If you start by keeping it simple, you can always add to your landscape plan in the future, as your time, finances and motivation allow. Late winter or early spring are good times to begin.
Landscaping Your Backyard
Measure your back yard with a measuring tape to get an idea of the size of your project. You needn't landscape your entire yard: If it's large or if your budget has limits, concentrate on areas close to your home. Then sit in a central area and imagine what your yard will look like when you are finished with your landscape project.
Search for ideas in gardening magazines and websites. Plan your landscape design with the four seasons in mind and then select plants that will add to the beauty of your yard year-round. For example, perhaps you'll plant a tree that displays autumn colors, one that blooms in the spring, wildflowers and vegetables for the summer, and an evergreen tree or two for the winter.
Plot out a plan on graph paper, using the measurements you took and the ideas you gathered. Plan to plant trees and larger plants toward the back of your property. Put smaller plants, such as a flowerbed, in front of them. Allow for access in the form of paths. Perhaps you'll want a vegetable garden---this must go in an area that receives full sun.
Visit your local nursery, show them your plan and ask for their suggestions of plants that will fit in and that are suitable for your microclimate. If you have a lot of shade, for instance, this will dictate that you plant only shade-loving plants.
Build your paths first. They can be simple affairs covered with wood chips, sawdust or gravel. If your budget allows, pour cement for your pathways because it will never grow weeds.
Measure your planting areas and beds and then dig compost into the soil. Research the various plants you have purchased and add any soil additives they might require. For example, bulbs that give you flowers such as tulips, iris and daffodils need their soil supplemented with bone meal and/or blood meal.
Plan for irrigation. It can be in the simple form of a hose with a sprinkler head, or you can set up a drip irrigation or soaker hose system. It's best to establish your irrigation system before you plant anything because you can easily damage new plantings when working with soaker hoses, drip lines and hoses.
Plant your plants and then keep them well watered until they become established.